RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MARCH 6, 2021

The RRT (Rapid Response Team) Action List compiles action items from the week and upcoming events into one place. If you would like to add anything to the weekly update, please send it to Dee Halzack at dee@solidaritylowell.com.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Priority Actions

Ask Golden to co-sponsor the resubmitted Safe Communities Act

(SD.532 and HD.1165) and Work and Family Mobility Act (HD.448/SD.228)

And thank Senator Kennedy and Representatives Howard and Mom for doing so. This will be the third legislative session for the Safe Communities Act, which lets our local police focus on their priorities and not federal immigration priorities. The Work and Family Mobility Act allows immigrants to apply for a driver’s license regardless of immigration status.

Senator Kennedy and Representatives Howard and Mom have signed on to support the bills. Representative Golden has not. If Representative Golden is your District Representative, please ask him to co-sponsor the bills.
You can find an email script on the Safe Communities Act here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pass-the-safe-communities-act.
You can find a script on the Work & Family Mobility Act here: http://bit.ly/2021-dff-email

Contact information: 

Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov  617-722-2263
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov  508-633-8005
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
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Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

Demand that Charlie Baker Prioritize Equity in Vaccine Rollout

The vaccine rollout in Massachusetts has been a disaster for everyone, but it has been particularly devastating to the communities of color who have already been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. Earlier this week, our friends from the newly formed Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition announced a roadmap for a more equitable distribution of vaccines to the disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities of Massachusetts.
Email the Governor today to demand that he implement these changes in order to eliminate the inequities that communities of color have been experiencing throughout this pandemic. The form at the link includes an editable message you can personalize.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/demand-that-charlie-baker-prioritize-equity-in-vaccine-rollout/

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday March 28, 5:30pm, via Zoom

Main Topic:  Solidarity Lowell’s Annual election of Coordinating Committee members
Watch for more information, link TBD.

Local Events and Actions

City Hall Open to the Public Again as of March 1

With the improvement in COVID rates, City Hall is open to the public again during normal business hours, effective March 1.

March for Moses

Saturday March 6, 12:00-2:00pm (rain or shine)
850 Lawrence Street, Lowell
March to Lowell Police Headquarters (JFK Plaza/Arcand Drive)

Demand justice for Moses Harris, who disappeared during an encounter with the police. No police report has been made public as of publication date.

Hosted by CAJE: Community Advocates for Justice and Equality https://www.facebook.com/CAJE.LowellMA

Next City Council Meeting

(every 2 weeks, on Tuesday at 6:30pm)
Tuesday, March 9, 6:30pm

At the beginning of the emergency, the City Council voted to meet every 2 weeks to facilitate safe distancing. Watch the meeting on LTC (Channel 99 or https://www.ltc.org/watch/channel-99/). Members wishing to speak regarding a specific agenda item shall register to speak in advance by sending an email to the City Clerk indicating the agenda item and a phone number to call so that they may be issued a Zoom link into the meeting.  Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV.  If no access to email you may contact the City Clerk at 978-674-4161. (Note: they will keep you in the waiting room until it’s your turn to speak, so in order to follow the meeting you need to listen on TV, but turn that off when you speak because there’s a delay on the speakers.)

The agenda will be posted at  http://lowellma.gov/agendacenter by the Friday before, March 5. Look under City Council, look for the date of the meeting of interest, click on Download, and select the version (HTML, PDF, or packet, which includes background) you want to see.

Citizens Advisory Council

(second Thursday of each month)
March 11, 5:30pm. Agenda to be posted March 8.

Meetings held second Thursday of the month. Agenda posted the Monday before.

Members of the public wishing to speak regarding a specific agenda item shall register to speak in advance by sending an email to mmanzi@lowellma.gov indicating the agenda item and a primary/secondary (backup) phone number to call to be conferenced into the meeting. If no access to email, call 978-674-1903 to register to speak.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, March 11, 5pm (now meeting bi-weekly)
Concerned about the eviction crisis in Lowell? Would you like to join a group working on ways to address it? This is the group. Current plans include publication of a resource booklet, a simple flier with steps for folks facing eviction, and neighborhood organizing.
978-222-7877 lowellhousingaction@riseup.net

Watch for an announcement of the next meeting, with Zoom link at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2658623527701727/

Lowell Votes seeks volunteers to help register and educate voters and find candidates

www.lowellvotes.org
Next meeting: March 16, 2pm

Now that we’ll actually have a more equitable electoral system in the city, we need to help voters understand that their vote will matter in this election, help them understand the system and register to vote.

Next School Committee meeting

(every 2 weeks on Wednesday at 6:30pm)
Wednesday, March 17, 6:30pm
Agenda due the Monday before (March 15)

Contact City Councilors Seeking Justice for Moses Harris

We ask that you contact city councilors regarding the incident with Moses Harris to ask for an independent investigation.

Form to contact Lowell City Councilors: https://www.lowellma.gov/FormCenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45

Sample Script: “Hello, this is [Name] calling from [Address, City, State, ZIP] and Solidarity Lowell. The disappearance of Moses Harris in Lowell should be the subject of an independent investigation.  Moses Harris disappeared into the Concord River on December 19th during an encounter with the Lowell Police. No one has seen Moses since. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident, and the police have yet to release the police report. I ask that you call for an independent investigation of this incident, and find out which department policies were followed or violated that allowed this to happen. Thank you!”
NOTE: It is important that you include your full name and address (including ZIP code).

Other Events

Symposium on Resisting new Norfolk County Women’s Prison

Sunday, March 7, 1:30pm
To register: https://tinyurl.com/4kbmmfc7

Join Building Up People Not Prisons (BUPNP) in a virtual symposium to stop the construction of a new women’s prison in Norfolk County! Norfolk County residents are especially encouraged to attend, since the new prison is being planned for their community, though everyone is welcome.

At the Symposium, you’ll have the chance to hear directly from Families for Justice as Healing, comprised of formerly incarcerated women and their loved ones, about plans to build a new $50M women’s prison in Norfolk County. Here’s an article on how the state is trying to hide the process from the public: https://tinyurl.com/y78y2t67. You’ll have the chance to hear how to take action against the new prison, as well as a broader vision for how we can shift resources going to prisons to support work that can truly create safe and healthy communities for everyone.

Register for the symposium today!

Meredith, SURJB Prison Abolition Action Partnership (edited)

Resilience and Regeneration: A Racial Justice and Feminist Recovery 

Monday, March 8, 2021, 11:30am – 1:00pm

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is hosting a virtual brunch to celebrate International Women’s Day featuring remarks from Congresswomen Katherine Clark and Ayanna Pressley and a panel discussion with State Rep. Chynah Tyler, Nia Grace, and Jynai McMcDonald. Register for this free event:here.https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-area-iwd-virtual-brunch-tickets-143212581687

Elders Climate Action Massachusetts

Tuesday, March 9, 11:45am
https://www.facebook.com/events/129607782302602

Chapter regular, Second-Tuesday-Afternoon-of-the-Month Chapter Meeting is held remotely thru Zoom. Join at 11:45 for time to socialize a bit and maybe have lunch together and make sure you’re all set on Zoom.

Then the meeting starts promptly at noon. The topic for this month is: “Laying the Groundwork for the Legislative Work Ahead”

The presentation will cover How a bill becomes law, The priority for bills in the Massachusetts Legislature this session, an overview of the Biden Administration’s climate program and the work of Elders Stand for Democracy on protecting voting rights.

___

To join the meeting click this Zoom link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/735454252
Meeting ID: 735 454 252
Passcode: 223189 (You may have to try more than once) (edited)

Dr. Esther Choo on Equity, Health and Well-being

Mar 9, 2021 06:00 PM
Racism is embedded in nearly every aspect of the health and well-being of our population, affecting everything from risk for disease, access to healthcare, and health outcomes of all kinds. Using her expertise in public health, emergency care, substance use disorders, and women’s health, Dr. Choo highlights the challenges to health equity in the 21st century.
https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/7816136183730/WN_HC7liErFT6u_sPNWWH2wWQ

Indivisible Mass Coalition (IMC) Statewide Call

Wednesday March 10, 7:30 – 9pm
To register: https://tinyurl.com/3uaja583

Join the Indivisible Mass Coalition (IMC) Statewide Call for a unique and exciting Panel Discussion with MA Activists. Listen, learn from and dialogue with this diverse and passionate panel of local activists that will inspire you with the stories of their journeys in activism. Learn what’s next on the 2021 activist agenda and how you can help make a positive difference to help reform our democracy!”

March Movie Night Series

Sunday nights at 7pm ET
First one March 7

Learn. Discuss…spur conversations on our future as a cooperative society

CommunityBridge.com presents – An engaging series of films to spur conversations on our future as a cooperative society. March is Rebellion and Cooperatives month on CommunityBridge. This series of documentaries and films focuses on the United States history of uprisings that are left out of our school curriculum.

In US culture, these topics are usually framed to raise guilt and further repression, preventing positive dialog and actions to change the future. These films are presented as an opportunity for discussion, not blame, for building a movement towards an enlightened future and finding our part in the process as loving caring people working together to build a cooperative and inclusive economy for all.

We will share our thoughts on solutions and actions we can take as individuals and organizations working towards positive change and cooperative lives.

PRIMER: A link to a 4 minute video description of worker-owned cooperatives: https://youtu.be/pKN-gxmVRUc

March 7th – Double Feature:

1. Freedom or Death – 15mins

The Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811, also known as: The German Coast Uprising:  In January 1811, five hundred slaves of south Louisiana rose in active rebellion against their masters in the largest slave revolt in American history. This film is a bit sanitized and that  presentation will be a part of our discussion. What to do about sanitized history…

2. Own The Change – 30mins

Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time. A short, practical guide for those considering worker owned cooperatives, made by GRITtv & TESA, the Toolbox for Education and Social Action. Featuring conversations with worker-owners from Union Cab; Ginger Moon; Arizmendi Bakery, Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance

Movie trailer: https://youtu.be/h5p6PBgiL3o

Invite your friends to Movie Nights by sending them this link to sign on to the Movie Nights Invitation List:

https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/movienight

State-level Events and Actions

Write your legislators in support of the progressive agenda for 2021-2022

There are a number of important bills on the agenda, covering paid vaccine equity, sick leave, taxing offshore income, curbing solitary confinement, and more.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-our-progressive-agenda-for-2021-2022 =

Ask your state legislators to co-sponsor workers’ rights bills

The bills covered by this petition address abusive waivers, sexual harassment, healthcare portability, paid sick leave, abusive scheduling, wage theft, retaliation against those who speak up for their rights, discrimination, underpaid restaurant workers, and bullying. The form contains an editable email you can send to your legislator

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/urge-your-state-legislators-to-co-sponsor-workers-rights-bills-in-massachusetts/thankyou?delivery_id=57519547

Urge your legislators to override the Governor and keep the climate bill strong

350MA of Greater Lowell is urging us all to take action to keep the climate bill strong.
One month ago — at the tail end of the 2019-2020 legislative session, the MA Legislature passed a strong consensus climate bill.

The bill would set a roadmap for net zero by 2050 (with 5-year plans and benchmarks), establish stronger emissions targets, require the creation of a net zero stretch code (for building energy efficiency) to which municipalities could opt in, increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard, codify Environmental Justice protections, and take additional steps to encourage wind, solar, and geothermal energy as well as energy efficiency.

And the Governor vetoed it. With the session having already ended, the Legislature couldn’t override him. But they did re-file and re-pass the bill (now called S. 9) a few weeks ago. Baker still refused to sign it, choosing instead to send it back with amendments, some of which weaken the bill.

Email or call your state rep and senator and tell them to reject any amendments that weaken the bill! Remember to include your name and address, so they know you are a constituent.

See the end of this section to find your state rep and senator.

SAMPLE SCRIPT:
I was very happy to see the Legislature take strong action two weeks ago to re-file and re-pass An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy (now, S9) and disappointed that Governor Baker refused to sign it.
When it comes to climate change, we have no time to waste, and we need to be increasing our ambition, not tempering it in the face of corporate lobbyists.
I urge you to reject any effort to weaken the bill. Specifically it is important to preserve the following key provisions as originally passed:

  • The 2030 and 2040 emissions targets (We need to keep the stronger targets).
  • The sector emissions sub-limits (We actually need to go further).
  • The net zero stretch building code (We’re already late, and we can’t put this off longer.)

Thank you, and I look forward to having your support.

Background on the bill here:
https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/148j5s6uF5C7LU8mOUbi9n6_7oOAWtb5TgDuyCGWzkzQ/mobilebasic#

Let 350MA of Greater Lowell (Jon Grossman, jgrossman@seiu509.org)  know if you get a response.

Pass Legislation to Seal Eviction Records

Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Mike Moran have refiled the HOMES Act (Housing Opportunities and Mobility through Eviction Sealing). Since 1988, over 1 million eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts.  It is time that people who have faced eviction are given a second chance and not held hostage to an eviction record.

ACTION NEEDED: Please contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing bills (HOMES), SD 798 & HD 1889.

FACT SHEET: Here is a fact sheet https://www.passthehomesact.org/uploads/2/7/0/4/27042339/homes_bill_co-sponsor_fact_sheet_2.17.pdf
with talking points and bills numbers. This session, the window for co-sponsorship closes when the bill emerges from its initial committee assignment, but the earlier we can build a list of co-sponsors the better to show support for the bill.

Please email and/or call your Senator and Representative urging them to co-sponsor the bill. The more co-sponsors are lined up, the stronger the chance a bill has of passing.

As City Councilor Lydia Edwards wrote in a Globe op-ed: “Since the state’s eviction moratorium ended, over 8,000 eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts. Each will be a permanent public record. As the pandemic continues to devastate our communities and joblessness continues to climb, that number will only grow.” See op-ed https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/02/16/opinion/baker-should-seal-eviction-records-give-residents-second-chance/.

If you have any questions, contact Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (info@mlri.org) and ask for Molly Broderick.

Ask your legislators to co-sponsor 5 indigenous legislative agenda priorities

At the link you’ll find an editable email that lists the 5 bills.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/indigenous-legislative-agenda-co-sponsorship-drive/thankyou?delivery_id=57871164

Our State Legislators’ Info: 

Please contact your state representative and state senator (email preferable at the moment)
(find yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator):
House Speaker Ronald Mariano: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2500
Senate President: Karen E. Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov 617-722-1500
Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov  617-722-2263
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov  508-633-8005
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen@mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 617-722-1572
Sen. Jamie Eldridge James.Eldridge@masenate.gov 617-722-1120
Sen. Barry Finegold Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov 617-722-1612
——
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Marius is the Togolese asylum seeker whom the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN) is sponsoring. With generous support from people like you and MVISN member groups like ours, Marius has retained an immigration lawyer, filed an application for asylum, and successfully moved his case to the Boston immigration courts from El Paso, exponentially increasing his possibility of ultimately winning his case. Until Marius receives legal authorization to work, our network has committed to financially supporting him with $500/month. Can you chip in towards the $500 we need to meet our commitment to him? Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Consider becoming a “sustaining supporter” by making a recurring monthly donation, no size too small! We are also looking for folks who are interested in helping in an ongoing basis, in any of these three committees: Legal, Fundraising, and Housing. If you’re interested, please email mvisn@solidaritylowell.com

Donate here: http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/ (please write “asylum” in the “special notes” part of the donation form)

Solidarity Lowell is a volunteer group of community members of Greater Lowell working toward social justice by defending the human rights, dignity, and equality of all persons against all forms of hate and discrimination.

Visit the Solidarity Lowell website: http://solidaritylowell.com

For more events not listed here, visit the full Events calendar: http://solidaritylowell.com/events/

For volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page: http://solidaritylowell.com/volunteer-opportunities/

View the notes from our February meeting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16ScrNKyVMRjXW7z-r19paPM__69hkMfCKSg10IY3OOA/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our February meeting: https://youtu.be/nepLC8-Y5og

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Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to join: https://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow